Second in a series on seniors leaving the SEC.
At some point this year, in one of the weekend open threads, I mused that Anthony Dixon might be a Heisman candidate if he were at a higher profile school. And in the year-of-the-quarterback-turned-year-of-the-running-back, it's actually not hard to imagine Dixon getting at least close to a New York City invite if he were on a team that, you know, won a few games.
As it was, Dixon averaged 5.4 yards per carry in 2009 despite being the only functioning part of the Mississippi State offense. He accounted for a full third of the Bulldogs' total yardage on the season. Dixon rushed for more than 100 yards in eight of the 11 games he played, including 176 at Arkansas and 252 at Kentucky.
For Dixon, who showed flashes of brilliance during the Sylvester Croom Era -- including his first 1,000-yard season in the 2007 bowl campaign -- tempered with disappearing acts. Sure, he rushed for more than 100 yards four times in 2007. He also gained 40 yards on 17 carries in that year's loss to Arkansas. Dixon rushed for less than 3.5 yards per attempt in 2008 six times, including a 17-yard day against Ole Miss one week after he ran for 179 yards against Arkansas.
Number of times he gained less than 3.5 ypc in 2009? Zero. In fact, only once -- against Florida -- would Dixon rush for fewer than 75 yards in a game. Vanderbilt, LSU, Georgia Tech, Houston, Middle Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, Ole Miss -- all saw Dixon gain more than 100 yards against them, some in wins, some in losses. Mississippi State had more bad weeks than good this past season, but Dixon never had a subpar performance.
But we almost never heard about him -- because as good as Dixon was, he couldn't win football games on his own. It's unfortunate that he won't be around to see what appears to be a promising era for Mississippi State football. He deserved more.
Including, perhaps, a trip to New York.
|Anthony Dixon, 2006-09